There is a better way to protest

Following the violent Hamburg riots at the G20 summit, Rev Sean Blackman urges people to follow Martin Luther-Kings lead in protesting peacefully for what they believe in
Following the violent Hamburg riots at the G20 summit, Rev Sean Blackman urges people to follow Martin Luther-Kings lead in protesting peacefully for what they believe in
Copperfields Hair Studio, on Hayling Avenue in Baffins. Picture: Google Street View PPP-171118-153719001

Hair salon in Baffins damaged by thieves

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WE SEEM to be entering an era of protest.

At the World G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, there were a range of issues being protested about including climate change and global wealth inequalities between rich and poor, and war.

The violent clashes between protesters and police around the G20 summit resulted in 400 police officers being injured. It caused untold damage to businesses and homes. Shops were looted, cars set on fire and countless windows smashed.

Can we still say ‘the ends justify the means’ when cities like Hamburg are left devastated merely for hosting a political leaders’ conference?

And should we start worrying if we know there may be violent protest when Donald Trump comes?

Or is there a better way to protest?

There is one group in history who could possibly justify using violence to support their righteous cause.

It was black African Americans in the United States during the 1960s. The Jim Crow Laws enforced segregation in the south but affected every area of American society.

For example, as a black soldier you could fight alongside your fellow (white) American abroad in Vietnam, but when you came home you could not go for some jobs because you were black.

On a bus you had to be prepared to give up your seat for a white person and your children could only go to black schools.

And even if your children were desperate for the loo they would not be allowed to use a whites-only toilet.

Martin Luther-King Junior’s notion of non-violent protest had a number of key elements.

Firstly, you can resist evil without resorting to violence.

Secondly, non-violence seeks to win the ‘friendship and understanding’ of the opponent, not to humiliate him.

Luther King Jr said: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’